Property Australia

Infrastructure for the future

Ken Morrison Ken Morrison August 31, 2021

With much of our lives currently hostage to daily COVID counts and lockdown uncertainties, it’s good to know someone is still planning for the future.

This week Infrastructure Australia looks through the pandemic to chart a long-term national infrastructure blueprint which it will release on Friday.

The Australian Infrastructure Plan is likely to be part outcome statement and part reform program as it seeks to shape infrastructure decisions over the next two decades. It complements IA’s annual assessment of the infrastructure priority projects the nation needs.

So, what can we expect from the document?

The expectation will be for a long-term plan that can underpin our COVID-19 recovery and lay the groundwork for lasting economic growth.

Australia’s fast growing big cities are likely to remain growth engines once population flows normalise again. Nearly 70% of the population chooses to live in one of our five largest cities. The infrastructure needs of our big cities must therefore remain an acute focus for policy makers.

The pandemic has also boosted the attractiveness that many mid-sized and regional cities provide. As a result, their infrastructure requirements deserve a second look. Industry will be looking for an acknowledgement that fast-growing regional centres will need more support to ensure their economic potential is not dampened by shortfalls in infrastructure investment.

We also know that infrastructure is far more than roads and rail. Energy networks, social infrastructure and technology-enabled mobility create new challenges and new opportunities.

Cities are humanity’s greatest invention. However, the pandemic has put a big dampener on our ability to enjoy the social and economic dividends our cities can provide.

As we emerge into the new normal – with high vaccine coverage, no lockdowns and open borders – the nation’s productivity and prosperity will once again be heavily underpinned by good infrastructure decision making. It’s a truism the property industry knows more than most.